sat 02/12/2023

class system

Oh What A Lovely War, Southwark Playhouse review - 60 years on, the old warhorse can still bare its teeth

In Annus Mirabilis, Philip Larkin wrote,"So life was never better than In nineteen sixty-three (Though just too late for me) – Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban And the Beatles' first LP."That might be the only point...

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Saltburn review - an uneven gothic romp

This seems to be a season for films majoring on bisexuality, with the awards round encompassing Ira Sachs’s Passages, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro and Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, a story of high-class high jinks in a modern twist on Evelyn’s Waugh’s...

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Nineteen Gardens, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs review - intriguing, beautifully observed two-hander tilts power this way and that

A middle-aged man, expensively dressed and possessed of that very specific confidence that only comes from a certain kind of education, a certain kind of professional success, a certain kind of entitlement, talks to a younger woman. Despite the fact...

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Mates in Chelsea, Royal Court review – silly rather than satirical

As Christmas looms, ’tis the season for comedy. And even the traditionally austere Royal Court feels obliged to join in. So here we go again with the same team — writer Rory Mullarkey and director Sam Pritchard — who brought the colourfully...

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To Have and To Hold, Hampstead Theatre review - funny but flawed

There’s only a couple of things you need to know about playwright Richard Bean: he started out as a stand-up comic, and he comes from Hull. Oh, and he wears Hawaiian shirts to press nights. So that’s three things. Oh, and that his masterpiece One...

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Trueman and the Arsonists, Roundhouse Studio review - new warnings in old lessons

A dystopian present. Sirens ring out across the city. Firefighters rush to the wrong locations. A man insists on entry to a big house. He’s not selling anything, so he can’t be an arsonist can he? His friend turns up and she’s pretty upfront about...

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The Flea, The Yard Theatre review - biting satire fails to sting

A flea bites a rat which spooks a horse which kicks a man and… an empire falls?James Fritz has won writing awards already in his developing career, but he has set himself quite the challenge to weave a thread that can bear that narrative weight. Two...

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Dead Dad Dog, Finborough Theatre review - Scottish two-hander plays differently 35 years on, but still entertains

I know, I was there. Well, not in Edinburgh in 1985, but in Liverpool in 1981, and the pull of London and the push from home, was just as strong for me back then as it is for Eck in John McKay’s comedy Dead Dad Dog. Back in London for the...

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The Changeling, Southwark Playhouse review - wild ride proves too bumpy to land all its points

Writing about the upcoming 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Theatre in The Guardian recently, the usually reliable Michael Billington made a rare misstep. He called for the successor to Rufus Norris, the departing artistic director,...

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Warhol, Velázquez, and leaving things out: an interview with Lynne Tillman

Motion Sickness (1991) is the second novel published by the writer, art collector and cultural critic Lynne Tillman. It is difficult, to her credit, to say what it is really about – what makes Tillman a formative figure for much contemporary fiction...

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Infamous, Jermyn Street Theatre review - Lady Hamilton challenges the patriarchy and loses

Towards the end of the 18th century, Lady Emma Hamilton (like so much in this woman's life, hers was a title achieved as much as bestowed) was the “It Girl” of European society.They’ve always been around – women who have the combination of...

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Modest, Kiln Theatre review - tale of Victorian would-be trailblazer fails and succeeds

Whether you believe that Ellen Brammar’s play, Modest, newly arrived in London from Hull Truck Theatre, succeeds or not, rather depends on your criteria for evaluating theatre. On storytelling, character development and nuance, it is two and a half...

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